Pakistan has reiterated its support for Afghanistan’s democratic process and stressed that completion of presidential elections is a crucial step for political stability of Afghanistan and the region.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Monday, Islamabad welcomed the announcement of preliminary results of Afghan Presidential elections held on September 28, 2019.
“We note that the final results would be announced after completion of adjudication process within the stipulated time as per Afghan electoral laws,” read the FO statement.
The statement comes a day after Afghanistan’s election commission announced that President Ashraf Ghani was on track to win a second term as he scored a majority in the presidential polls.
According to the Independent Election Commission, Ghani won 50.64 per cent of the vote in the September 28 poll, easily beating Abdullah, who scored 39.52 per cent.
Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani in key dates
But despite Ghani’s apparent clean win, the fallout from the bitterly contested September 28 election looked set to continue, with top rival Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah saying he would contest the result.
Candidates now have the right to file any complaints they may have before final results are announced, probably within a few weeks.
As soon as the result was announced, Abdullah’s office said in a statement he would contest it.
Preliminary results were originally due October 19 but were repeatedly delayed amid technical issues and allegations of fraud from various candidates, particularly Abdullah.
The protracted limbo between the vote and the preliminary result heaped additional uncertainty on Afghans who already are anxiously awaiting the outcome of talks between the US and the Taliban.
The election was meant to be the cleanest yet in Afghanistan’s young democracy, with a German firm supplying biometric machines to stop people from voting more than once.
But nearly one million of the initial 2.7 million votes were purged owing to irregularities, meaning the election saw by far the lowest turnout of any Afghan poll.
(With additional input from AFP)